New Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering Empowers Students to Address Growing Industry Demands

Illinois Tech Launches First Engineering Program of Its Kind in Chicago Area



By Mary Ceron-Reyes

Every day, pharmaceutical engineers play a critical role in the health care sector to ensure patient safety and help save lives, which requires the technical knowledge and skills to meet emerging challenges and complexities. Illinois Tech’s new Master of Pharmaceutical Engineering creates a stimulating environment for students to study the design of new medications, and evaluate the safety and efficacy of existing drugs. In addition they also learn how to design and improve pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality assurance processes. 

As one of only a handful of programs of its kind in the nation, this new program offers a curriculum designed to prepare students to address the changing needs of the pharmaceutical industry, including research on state-of-the-art manufacturing practices and protocols. Sohail Murad, professor and chair of chemical and biological engineering at Illinois Tech, shares, “Our vision for the new Master of Pharmaceutical Engineering program is simple: to develop a robust and highly specialized program of study that will not only help graduates meet the needs of today’s industry, but also produce young leaders capable of shaping and guiding the industry’s future.”

Murad indicates that the new program positions graduates at the forefront of this growing profession, specifically in the areas of pharmaceutical manufacturing, design, sales, and the research of new drugs. He says, “The goal of the program is to provide students with the training to design manufacturing plants and optimize pharmaceutical products,” adding that, “students will also develop problem-solving skills and learn to apply the fundamental principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics in drug manufacturing and engineering.”

Students are encouraged to take additional elective courses across multiple disciplines to broaden their understanding of drug development. “As part of the degree requirements, students will also be trained in aspects of economics, marketing, oral presentations and written communication skills, as well as leadership, management, ethics, and entrepreneurship as they pertain to the pharmaceutical industries,” says Murad.

Program faculty within Armour College of Engineering seek to lay the groundwork for students to understand challenges and make innovative contributions within this rapidly evolving field. Ali Cinar, professor of chemical engineering, and Seok Hoon Hong, assistant professor, are both instructors in the Master of Pharmaceutical Engineering program and reaffirm its strong emphasis on providing students with a collaborative space to understand the fundamental principles and applications of pharmaceutical engineering, while empowering them to solve problems and improve processes throughout the industry with cutting-edge technology.